VTech V.Smile Cyber Pocket Touch Review

I love computer games, my husband loves computer games ergo my son loves computer games.

Obviously rather than getting him hooked on the XBOX or Playstation 3 too early, I thought buying him a junior games console with some education value as well as fun would be the best option.

Thomas already had the V.Smile console which plugs into the TV, we bought it as a present for achieving toilet training. We had three games for this system which he loved playing, and we had no problems with it until the new baby came along.

Unfortunately his new baby brother has a fascination with anything electronic and anything with leads, and prevented Thomas playing because he would always pull the leads out of the tv and not leave him alone to play.

We then decided to buy Thomas the portable version of the V.Smile the CyberPocket for Christmas as they both took the same game cartridges so we knew he would be able to play the games he loved again, or so we thought.

As soon as we took the Cyber Pocket out of the box on Christmas morning we realised there was a problem, a big scratch across the screen. I was not impressed.  We decided to persevere for the time being with the scratch and I would exchange it after the holidays, disaster averted we began to play.

My son first wanted to play the included Scooby Doo Funland Frenzy game as he is a favourite of his at the moment. He couldn’t get to grips with this game and got very frustrated with the controls. As this game is recommended from age 5 and Thomas is only 3 we put the problems down the advanced age difficulty and popped in the trustworthy Bob the builder game, Thomas’s best game he says.

Even though he had played this game many many times and knew it like the back of his hand ,he still didn’t like playing it on the Cyber Pocket.

His main complaint is that his fingers hurt which makes sense as when you use the original V.Smile you move the character with a joystick, but the Cyber Pocket uses a directional pad which has to be constantly pressed. I had a go and I’ll admit it hurt my fingers too.

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After 10 minutes total play of 2 games on Christmas morning he’d had enough and it was put away. Days passed and no mention of playing his computer so I started prompting him but I couldn’t get him to play it again.After more harassing from me he has played it a few times for about 10 minutes each time but just gives up and puts it away, he just doesnt like it.

One of the main draws for the Cyber Pocket is that it’s portable, a big factor in us buying it was being able to use it on long car journeys to the mother in laws,  V-Tech also sell in car chargers so that this is possible. Regrettably the screen is so poor that using it in the car is not an option, too much screen glare. My son tried to use it for a while but just spent all the time tilting the lid back and forth trying to see the screen.

Even when using the device indoors the screen is a problem, everything is very jerky and lines of interference constantly run up and down the screen. It’s a very poor effort in my opinion and should have been improved.

Below the screen is a stylus pad for using the pen stylus. This is the only part my son enjoys but the stylus is not compatible with every game,  and even if it is it’s only for a short portion of the game. Thomas would have really enjoyed a drawing game and I think there should have been one included with the console to make use of the stylus. I think there maybe one available to buy separately though.

One good point is that it’s suitable for right and left handers, with a simple flick of a switch you are able to switch the controls from one side to the other.

It comes with a tv lead included in the box enabling you to plug it into the tv if you so wish.

It dosn’t come with a power adaptor which is regrettable as from other reviews i’ve read the battery life of the Cyber Pocket is atrocious, unfortunately we haven’t even run out the first set of batteries we put in as it hasn’t had enough play yet.

The new v.smile V-motion might be the answer to our prayers, it’s a tv console but it has wireless controllers and motion sensors like the Wii. Although I’m sure Thomas would love it I’m at pains to pay out for another V.Smile when I have 2 perfectly good ones at home not being used.

The cyber pocket  is Available in Pink or Blue and recommended from age 5 years.

I think that all children are different and I’m sure lots of kids enjoy the Cyber Pocket, but my son didn’t maybe he was just too young for it but as he had enjoyed the tv version so much I thought he would be ok.

Taking everything into account with the bad control system, poor screen and aparent bad battery life I am not able to recommend it.

For an update to this review after 6 months of use, see VTech Cyber Pocket Review – Update

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